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Advances in data and connectivity are driving defense and intelligence missions into the information age. Traditional acquisition and development techniques lack the agility required to deliver mission critical technology solutions in the defense and intelligence domain. 

“Information is helping our defense customers get ahead of their adversaries,” says Kate Maxwell, CTO, Defense & Intelligence for Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector. “Cloud computing enables secure information sharing across services, domains, and the allied community — all the way from headquarters to the tactical edge, to that soldier at a forward-deployed location.” 

According to Maxwell, that’s a “big leap that is facilitated by capabilities like artificial intelligence, machine learning and high performance computing. Raw data is one thing, but how do we get to insights and infer intent? When our customers can turn data into insights and get inside their adversary’s decision cycle, that’s how they find competitive advantage in the digital battlespace.”

Mission speed is a central notion in Maxwell’s vision regarding upcoming technology, putting 5G and satellite communications high on the list of priorities. These also include  virtualization technologies – augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality (a significant upgrade to traditional training and mission planning activities)”, she was cited by

Microsoft’s president Brad Smith has recently portrayed his vision regarding a digital strategy to defend the nation. He said “emerging technologies such as cloud and edge services, AI and 5G will redefine the requirements for military operations at mission speed, based on their ability to harness massive amounts of data and computational power.”

Cited in the company’s blog, Smith added that “the Pentagon needs to move more quickly to use, secure and adapt commercial advances for military applications. This will require more agile procurement, more digital skills in personnel training, and a closer partnership between the government and the tech sector.”